The question that I get asked most by friends is how the HELL do I afford to travel? I must have won the lotto right? No. I work my ass off. I have worked 40-60 hour weeks since I was 16 years old. The old saying- work hard play hard- well its more than true for me.
My parents taught me to work hard for the better things in life, like travel. I was never handed cash for doing nothing and my $20 pocket money stopped when I was 15. I had to get out there, find a job and work countless hours while my friends partied and hung out. There is no easy way out when you first want to travel- yes you might have rich parents that will support you or maybe even a killer inheritance- but for me… I worked. That’s not to say I didn’t have a social life- I did. I just knew when to cut back, have a movie night, or go out on the cheap.
Here are my top tips for saving while studying/working.
- Live at home as long as you can! I didn’t have this option as my parents moved away, so on top of school, rent, food, gym memberships and socialising- I still managed to save enough to travel! YOU CAN TOO! Living at home and sharing your rent (or even not paying rent) will save you up to $200 per week. Pretty good right?
- Get yourself a Money Tin. Every time I do this I somehow end up with $300-$1000 in coins and small change- worth it when you hardly realise you are putting away those gold coins!
- Find a job with relaxed hours. Bar work was my go-to. You are out with music, people and drinks- but your just on the other side of it. My bar work allowed me to make lifelong friends, understand how important being hospitable is in life, and how to make great money for doing bugger all. Bar work in Perth starts from $27 per hour on the weekends- PLUS TIPS! I was raking in up to $300 a night, plus saving on partying costs. Most nightclubs have at least 20 bartenders, so having the occasional night off is no issue, and starting late is NORMAL! Working nights allowed me to study and work another job during the week days. Double income= awesome savings!
- Sorry social life! I am a social butterfly. I went to three high schools and have a LOT of friends. But at the end of the day my goal was to travel and see the wanders of the world- not get so drunk I vomit on myself… well… not every night! This is were my bar work turned into the perfect outlet- being out at a club, where my friends were partying, with great work mates, allowed me to have a social life but not loose my savings.
- Prep your weekly meals and shop only ONCE a fortnight. Sunday is prep day. I cook rice, soup, chicken, veggies, salads- anything that will get me through the week and is healthy enough. Write a shopping list that matches a meal plan- one example can be seen here. This weekly shop costs me AUD $90 A FORTNIGHT!!!! Try out green grocers, Chinese supermarkets and markets- cheap and healthy food is out there, don’t just settle for your local Woolworths or Tesco.
- Subscribe to Airline mailing lists. This is where I find ALL my flights. Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Ryanair and Jetstar have red hot deals coming through weekly. I picked up RETURN flights to Bali for $120 through getting the weekly news from Air Asia. You will be surprised how often flights come up for under $500 return! Also remember- I LIVE IN PERTH- The most secluded city in the world. This makes flights thousands more at times- so it really is worth the spam!
- Ditch the Travel Agent. Sorry guys but you can do it yourself for less. Don’t be lazy. Travel agents charge upward of $250 PER PERSON in fees. Be cheeky, get a quote and find out the airlines they recommend you to take on your travel date and go look up the same flight yourself, booking direct will save you hundreds.
- Offset your degree finance. This has been the biggest saviour for me. The Australian Government allows students to offset their payments for degrees until they are making over $50,000 a year. International students don’t have this leisure, but research into finding a loan or finance plan that will reduce your study costs dramatically.